Steamboat Springs As big crowds flocked to all the festivities this weekend in downtown Steamboat Springs, consultants from Denver were stopping people to ask what they thought of this city's parking situation.
The random interviews of downtown visitors are part of a larger parking analysis the city recently initiated to get some direction on how to best manage its parking system that some people believe needs to be updated.
People who didn't get stopped by the parking consultants this weekend still have plenty of opportunities to weigh in on what they think of the situation.
The easiest way is to complete a new seven-question, online public opinion survey that is a part of the $54,000 study.
The survey asks people to rate the availability of downtown parking and also what they think of the prospect of implementing paid parking.
Public Works Director Chuck Anderson said in addition to the survey, the city plans to host a community meeting on parking sometime this summer.
The city's downtown parking situation has come under the microscope in recent months as efforts to revitalize downtown move forward and businesses expect more visitors and more demand for spaces.
Some City Council members have proclaimed the city has a parking problem that needs to be fixed and have floated the idea of paid parking. Others have questioned the need to make any significant changes to the parking system.
Complaints about downtown parking here include a difficulty in finding spaces during peak hours, a large number of prime spaces being taken by employees and a lack of parking enforcement.
The city has one employee who is dedicated to parking enforcement, according to Anderson.
While the study by Desman Associates is underway, the city has been taking some steps to improve the parking situation in the short-term.
The improvements include changing parallel parking spaces to diagonal spaces to add more parking and putting up way-finding signs that steer people off of Lincoln Avenue and into public parking lots in places like Howelsen Hill.
City officials plan on updating the City Council on the progress of the study at a meeting next month.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10